He hardly touched me, says Forsyth the fallen
By Roy Masters
August 24, 2004
Australian heavyweight Adam Forsyth blamed an international conspiracy for his 27-12 points decision loss to Egypt's Mohamed Elsayed last night in Athens.
The Australian management also claimed to have heard rumours before the fight that the five judges would favour the Egyptian under boxing's subjective scoring system where points are acquired when a majority of judges press a computer key almost simultaneously.
"We knew it was going to be hard beating the politics in the sport," Forsyth said. "You've got to fight not only the boxer but the judges as well."
The major mystery was where 39 scoring punches originated. That is because Forsyth's mobility is such that he is better suited to fighting in a telephone booth and the Egyptian's left arm was frozen at his side.
Still, Australian flyweight Bradley Hore was incredulous when the Herald communicated the scores to him at the end of each round via mobile phone call.
Only the media have access to scores inside the Peristeri hall in Athens and Hore passed the results on, via hand signal, to Forsyth's corner.
Hore sounded surprised when told the 8-2 count at the end of round one but was incredulous at round two's 13-4 score.
The travesty continued with 23-9 and finally 27-12.
The crowd agreed with Hore, booing loudly in the only protest witnessed at the stadium since the Greek heavyweight lost an earlier decision.
Forsyth said: "I wasn't the only one who thought I'd won.
"You know something is going on when you walk out and everyone is saying you should have won it." Australian manager Ron Pengelly said: "You hear things".
But it's difficult to see why judges from France, Canada, India, Lesotho and Poland would favour Egypt.
Still, Elsayed seemed confident he could beat Forsyth with one hand tied behind his back. In effect, it was.
Maybe his left arm was injured, but his attack was confined to jabbing out a right which faded like a sick flower.
He then retreated round the ring with dizzying speed. He appeared convinced of his victory, finally finding use for his left arm, raising it above his head and blowing kisses to the crowd.
Perhaps the man from the Cairo sports desk had also passed on the scores by mobile phone. Forsyth said: "I don't know where he got 27 points from. He only hit me once in the last round."
Standing up between rounds, Forsyth launched a fusillade to the head in the last one, with only four making contact, according to the judges.
Afterwards, Forsyth, nicknamed "Silverback" because of the silver streaks he puts in his hair, was unmarked and appeared as if he had just stepped from a shower.
"He only hit me a few clean shots," the 23-year-old said.
Although it was a fight marred by excessive grasping and too much flailing, the final score was so violently in contempt of plausibility that it is just another deck chair on the Titanic of Olympic boxing.
But equally implausible was the Australian reaction to the result.
"I would have reversed the points completely," Hore said.
"It's as if someone read the scores upside down." When pressed on how many times he hit Elsayed, Forsyth said: "I hit him a few times."
Forsyth joined American Devin Vargas, leaving only Belarus's Viktar Zuyev, to represent the Great White Hopeless.
The reality is the heavyweight division in Athens will be a cakewalk for the majestic Cuban, Odlanier Solis Fonte.